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Free Content Bungee Force Level, Stiffness, and Variation During Treadmill Locomotion in Simulated Microgravity

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De Witt JK, Schaffner G, Ploutz-Snyder LL. Bungee force level, stiffness, and variation during treadmill locomotion in simulated microgravity. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:449–55.

Introduction: Crewmembers performing treadmill exercise on the International Space Station must wear a harness with an external gravity replacement force that is created by elastomer bungees. The quantification of the total external force, displacement, stiffness, and force variation is important for understanding the forces applied to the crewmember during typical exercise. Methods: Data were collected during static trials in the laboratory from a single subject and four subjects were tested while walking at 1.34 m · s−1 and running at 2.24 m · s−1 and 3.13 m · s−1 on a treadmill during simulated microgravity in parabolic flight. The external force was provided by bungees and carabiner clips in configurations commonly used by crewmembers. Total external force, displacement, and force variation in the bungee system were measured, from which stiffness was computed. Results: Mean external force ranged from 431 to 804 N (54–131% bodyweight) across subjects and conditions. Mean displacement was 4 to 8 cm depending upon gait speed. Mean stiffness was affected by bungee configuration and ranged from 1.73 to 29.20 N · cm−1. Force variation for single bungee configurations was 2.61–4.48% of total external force and between 4.30–57.5% total external force for two-bungee configurations. Conclusions: The external force supplied to crewmembers by elastomer bungees provided a range of loading levels with variations that occur throughout the gait cycle. The quantification of bungee-loading characteristics is important to better define the system currently used by crewmembers during exercise.

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Keywords: bungee force; countermeasures; exercise; treadmill

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Wyle Science, Technology and Engineering Group, Houston, TX, USA

Publication date: 01 April 2014

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